Tenmei Kanoh FUCK

2021.11.12 [fri] – 12.11 [sat]


Tenmei Kanoh 'FUCK C 001', Inkjet print , 1200×1800, 1969

YUKIKOMIZUTANI is pleased to present “FUCK”, a solo exhibition of works by Tenmei Kanoh. On the Summer of 1969, commissioned by magazine Heibon Punch for a special issue, “FUCK” was shot during his stay in New York where he documented Yayoi Kusama’s performances, with artists who worked closely with her, and with performers from Andy Warhol’s Factory.
The exhibition introduces a selection consisting of his lauded infrared color film series, as well as hitherto unseen monochrome iterations. Held at the same time with YASAKA GALLERY Ginza presenting Tenmei Kanoh’s paintings “PINK DOG”, “FUCK” will be unveiled on November 12 (Fri), 2021, and will remain on view until December 11 (Sat).


Summer of ’69, the heatwave set the tone in New York. On the night of 27 June 1969, Stonewall uprising took place in New York. In August, this joyous rebellion gained greater momentum in Woodstock music festival, thus giving birth to the counterculture generation. It was on this very year that Tenmei Kanoh was in New York documenting the people and streets of New York. On a spree, he went on guerrilla nude shoots at Central Park, Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge, and Harlem. With the help of Heibon Punch magazine editor Jiro Ishikawa, Tenmei Kanoh was introduced to Yayoi Kusama, who offered to perform for him in East Village. Much to his surprise upon arrival, Yayoi Kusama’s impromptu orgy started. He has never seen such radical performance embodying the free love zeitgeist of 60s American counterculture, so he went straight to work. Inspired by this shoot, Kano invited Yayoi Kusama’s performers to Tad Wakamatsu’s studio, a photographer living in New York who was acquainted with her. This session focusing on the beauty of the body, transcending the boundaries of race and gender. The “FUCK” series comprises of these two bodies of works.


Characteristics of his work include theatrical nudes in lucid hues, and grunge monochrome aesthetic expressing contempt for conventional notions of beauty. Working alongside his father who was a graphic designer, he was familiar with foreign fashion magazines used as reference material, featuring Richard Avedon and Hiro Wakabayashi. However, his photographs feel more arbitrary than inspired by the greats. What separates him from the rest is his provocative play. The innate desire to rebel is a lifelong theme which can be traced back to his early works “三里塚1972” (Sanrizuka 1972). Not only does he photograph countercultural subjects, but his method is equally eccentric. Developed only in the U.S., Tenmei Kanoh got his hands on state-of-the-art infrared color film, initially intended for aerial photography during the war. The property of the film blocking most of the visible light spectrum, used to photograph the orgy has a bizarre effect, lips appearing yellow, exaggerate blood
vessels, and brown hair altered bright red. An instrument in the Vietnam War experimentally used to express the shared human pathos, “FUCK” is a riposte to other nude photographers.


This exhibition focuses on a selection of Tenmei Kanoh‘s reflexive portraits that demonstrate his innate response to “FUCK”. Into the bizarro world, the happenings that unfold are never short of surprises through his lenses. We hope this serves as an opportunity for viewers to fathom Tenmei Kanoh’s boundless vision, and contemplate his works with great relish.


Tenmei Kanoh  加納典明

Born 1942 in Aichi. After graduating from Nagoya City Industrial Arts High School Tenmei Kanoh studied under Toichi Ogawa (小川藤一) and Takashi Kijima (杵島隆), and later went independent as a freelance photographer in the field of fashion andadvertising. His nude works were soon recognized in Tokyo, and he was given many centerfolds on the prominent Heibon Punchmagazine. In 1969, he was commissioned by the magazine to document the youth of New York. The result of which is his acclaimed “FUCK”, photographs of a cathartic orgy. Thereafter, Monthly Tenmei published between 1993 and 1995, selling 70 million copies,earned him an outspoken reputation. With a broadened scope working on press, TV, and the silver screen, he played a critical role in the evolution of Japanese mass media. The artist is noteworthy for working in photography and painting throughout his career.
He received several prizes including the Japan Advertising Artists Club Award, APA Award, Asahi Advertising Award, and Mainichi Advertising Award among others.


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